Three Wrigley gums certified as beneficial

Erica Magda

Erica Magda

By Brittany Abeijon

Chewing a piece of gum after each meal might have more benefits than just fighting bad breath.

The American Dental Association recently put its seal of acceptance on three types of sugar-free gums made by Wrigley – Orbit, Extra and Eclipse – the first and only gums in the United States approved by the ADA to help maintain good oral health.

The ADA seal of acceptance is a “standard for oral health care products … it symbolizes dentistry’s commitment to protect the profession and public,” according to the ADA Web site.

More than 20 years of research was analyzed and the FDA awarded the seal to Wrigley after approving the three types of sugar-free gum to sufficiently help prevent cavities, reduce plaque acid and strengthen teeth.

Dr. Ben Scott, dentist at CU Dentists, LTD., 805 W. Springfield Ave., said because saliva increases when gum is chewed, the saliva neutralizes and washes away acids produced when bacteria in plaque break down food. Saliva also bathes teeth in calcium and phosphate, which strengthen tooth enamel.

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Dr. Cliff Whall, director of the ADA seal of acceptance program, said the studies demonstrated that chewing sugar-free gum three times a day for 20 minutes after each meal can reduce tooth decay.

Whall said although these studies found the gum to reduce tooth decay, this does not change the four standards of ADA oral health recommendations.

“Everyone should brush twice a day, floss once a day, eat a balanced diet and visit the dentist regularly,” Whall said. “Not everyone has to chew gum, but everyone has to do these.”

The ADA seal of acceptance program is entirely voluntary and Wrigley was selected because it brought clinical data to the ADA in order to acquire the seal.

The program has been around since 1930 with a confidential policy of only commenting about products with seals and must deny commenting on other corporations that may have been denied for a seal.

“If a product doesn’t have a seal, that doesn’t mean it’s not a good product,” Whall said. “It means that the ones that do have gone through a strict process.”

Scott said sometimes the ADA will put its seal of acceptance on a product for one reason, but different marketing companies will say it is for another.

“Listerine has an ADA seal on it, but when Listerine Whitening came out, the ADA put their seal on that, too,” Scott said. “The seal isn’t for the whitening agent; it is still for the original seal that it is acceptable to the ADA as an antibacterial rinse.”

According to a press release from Wrigley, packages of Orbit, Extra and Eclipse will feature the ADA seal of acceptance starting in November, and will be supported with print ads in major magazines, online ads and promotions to consumers and the nation’s dental professionals.